Google Analytics, two words that can instil opportunity or fear in even the toughest of individuals...
There are usually two types of people when it comes to analytics, those who see the potential and have taken the time to familiarise themselves with the interface, and those who see the potential but feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information.
Well fear not - no matter which side you're on, we have 4 Google Analytics tips to help you reach your digital marketing goals.
Ever wanted to check what websites are driving traffic to your website and been greeted with this...
Referral spam in Google Analytics occurs when your website gets fake referral traffic from spam bots. Besides dummy page views that will artificially inflate your overall site traffic, referral spam traffic has a high bounce rate, low time on site and a variety of other properties that will negatively affect your data and skew results.
One positive of this, if you can call it that, is that as referral traffic has a similar profile making it easy to highlight and then filter out from your results to ensure your Google Analytics data is as close to accurate as possible. If you haven't already, you should enable bot filtering in Google Analytics which should eliminate the vast majority of future referral traffic from occurring, enabling your online marketing data to be accurate.
Unfortunately turning on bot filtering won't work retrospectively, however using segmentation we are able to exclude the traffic from our results which we'll go over shortly.
Google is well aware that a lot of people are a little intimidated by analytics which is why they re-named "Advanced Segments" to "Segments" a few years ago to make them a little less intimidating - and for good reason. Segments are simply a tool to help you drill down a little deeper into your data to get more valuable information from your online marketing.
But where do you start? With our list of top 10 marketing segments for Google Analytics.
1. Segment by Referrer / Traffic source
2. Segment by Visitor Type
3. Segment by Location / Geography
4. Segment by Content Viewed
5. Segment by Landing Page Type
6. Segment by Action Taken
7. Segment by Value
8. Segment by Demographics.
9. Segment by Engagement
10. Segment by Technology platform
Setting up the first suggested segment is as easy as 1, 2, 3...
Let's assume you want to segment your data to see how your Facebook traffic is using your website.
1) Click the "Add Segment" button from the reporting view within analytics.
2) In the source field for traffic sources type in facebook.com and make sure the dropdown says "contains" to capture mobile and tablet traffic as well.
3) Name your segment something clear and easy to remember and then hit save.
Your new segment will be added alongside the existing one which was likely All Traffic. Now you can compare how your Facebook visitors are using the website to all other visitors.
This powerful yet easy to setup segment can provide a wealth of information, however, how do you go about setting up the other suggested segments? Good news is you don't have to as someone has likely already done the hard work for you which brings us to...
Have a great idea for how you would like to segment your data, but not sure how to set it up yourself? Well, the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery is here to help.
The Solutions Gallery lets users share and import custom reporting tools and assets, like dashboards and segments, directly into your Analytics accounts - and best of all it's free and easy to use. If you click Add Segment again from the reporting view in Google Analytics and instead of clicking New Segment you want to choose the option to Import From Gallery.
Clicking this option will bring up all the available resources currently uploaded to the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery with the most popular solutions shown first. This is a great place to start and the packs included in the below screenshot are worth instaling if you are still learning how to create your own segments. Even advanced users can learn a thing or two from these packs as well and you have the ability to edit any of the segments imported from the pack to tweak them to suit your needs.
Once you've found a pack to suit your segmenting needs simply click import to add it to your account. You can then apply any of the segments by clicking Add Segment as they will now be included in the list that comes up.
Remember that pesky referral spam we were talking about earlier, well there's a solution for that: http://bit.ly/1RSPS8d
One thing the Solutions Gallery can't help with is creating goals in Google Analytics, however, Google has made that a little easier with the introduction of smart goals.
We've talked a lot about the importance of clean data and creating segments to understand how visitors are using your website, but why? To reach your online marketing goals of course!
A key metric for almost any business is conversions or in layman's terms, the moment a visitor does something on your website you want them to. This could be everything from submitting and enquiry, to purchasing an item, subscribing to a newsletter, or even spending x amount of time on a page.
However, it seems setting up goals is more often than not overlooked by a lot of businesses. We won't dwell on why this happens, rather offer a solution that can help a wide variety of businesses by setting up smart goals which will allow you to identify the highest-quality visits to your website and optimise accordingly. While this does not replace setting up traditional goals, it is a good first step for people who are not sure what they should be tracking and how to set it up.
From within Google Analytics if you select Admin -> View -> Goals then click Create New Goal, you will see an option for smart goals at the bottom of the page. Simply name the goal something descriptive and hit save.
Once you setup the Smart Goals in Google Analytics you will be able to see how they are performing using the report in the “Conversions” section of Google Analytics. Like with all goals, these can be imported into your Google Adwords account if you have one and you will be able to optimise your bids based on conversions rather than clicks or impressions which should lead to better ROI.
Google Analytics is an extremely powerful tool that can add a lot of value to your business if you take the time to get to know it and learn your way around. Hopefully, these Google Analytics tips help make the process a little easier however if you have any questions we're here to help so feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.